Replacing items is pricy. Smart shoppers will buy secondhand merchandise as a backup. When it breaks, you don’t have to run out to replace anything right away. This gives you time to save money and pay cash versus credit, research products and find it at the best price. But if you’re frugal, you keep your lifestyle basic. There are things you don’t plan on replacing anytime soon or even repairing, for that matter. What have you decided not to replace?
Here are 10 popular items that frugal people have the tendency to not replenish.
PAPER AND PLASTIC PRODUCTS: Often, frugal households have a stash of paper plates or napkins or plasticware and decide that when they’re used up or cracked or missing pieces, more won’t be bought. Many frugal people prefer reusable cloth or glass products.
COSMETICS: During their spendthrift past, some people had a large accumulation of health and beauty aids, such as hair products, perfume and makeup. Rather than continue to buy more once it’s expired or gone, they start to keep these types of items to a minimum. When facing her addiction to scents, Tammy from Alabama realized that her perfume will go bad before she uses it up. “I’ve decided I don’t need 20 bottles of perfume! That’s just not right,”she says.”I’ve been slowly getting rid of some by giving some away, selling on eBay, etc. I love smelly stuff, so it’s taking me a while. For what I couldn’t part with a few weeks ago, I can now and feel OK about it.”
CLEANERS: Homemade cleaners made with vinegar, castile soap and baking soda are replacing many commercial cleaners.
APPLIANCES: Some frugal families are opting for manual tools, such as a French press or hand grater, over electrical appliances. Leigh from Alabama, shares: “I have an aversion to appliances on the countertop. I hate the look of it all. So when the electric can opener died, I bought a hand held one that fits nicely in a drawer out of sight.” Even microwave ovens are too bulky for some people and won’t be replaced when they’re mostly used to reheat water, make popcorn or thaw meat.
NOTEPADS: Buying memo pads isn’t necessary if you reuse paper scraps or start utilizing both sides of pieces of paper.
DRYER SHEETS: Fabric softener is steadily being replaced with vinegar, and clothes are being hung on a clothesline or drying rack. If the dryer is used, synthetic fabrics are dried separately to create less static in the dryer. Some people use tennis balls, aluminum foil balls or homemade yarn balls in the dryer to help prevent static cling.
MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS: With many magazines available and Web sites to read online for free, once subscriptions run out, people are less likely to renew them.
IRON: With so many fabrics being wrinkle resistant, the iron is needed far less than it used to be.
LANDLINE: Many households no longer feel the need to have a landline telephone. They keep in touch online and use their cell phones instead. If their landlines phone breaks, many decide to drop their landlines.
CONVENTIONAL BULBS: Many households aren’t replacing their incandescent bulbs and are choosing CFL or LED lights instead.
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., fourth floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail email@example.com.